As operators of a medium sized wiki farm (http://biowikifarm.net) we are happy with the high quality of mediawiki core version updating. However, testing each and every extension, often filing many extension bug reports (where the extension was working ok with the previous mediawiki core, but now has bugs after updating core) is complicated. I want to open a discussion on what might be improved here.
I see the extensions as falling into three categories:
- Extensions used on Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) sites. These are generally well maintained. However, the problem here is that often bug fixes are applied only to Head and the WMF versions, but not to the stable and oldstable releases of mediawiki. It may be valuable to lobby WMF to create a policy that its software engineers try to port all fixes to WMF-fixed extension also in the old stable and stable (e.g. REL1_19, REL1_20) branches of the extensions, making sure that when updating to the extension branches corresponding to the core extension, one has a a fair chances of getting the already existing bugfixes (rather than finding the bugs again, as is currently the case).
- Extensions installed at the vast majority of non-WMF sites, even if not on WMF itself. These could get special attention similar to WMF extensions. Here the problem seems to be that the list of these extensions is difficult to built. The attempts to do statistics of existing wikis (used to be linked in infoboxes) could not be kept current. Is there a chance to build a consensus list among those involved here?
- Extensions that vary greatly in usage. There is little that can be done for those, but if we had to deal only with these few (in our case that is perhaps 5 extensions out of 90) we would be happy... :-)
In general it might be helpful if someone could write something like a "Best practice to maintain and upgrade your extension zoo" wiki page. For example, we found that it is advisable to use svn/git to better manage the extension updating and bug fixing.